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3rdtimer

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Hi all, I'm on the verge of having to apply a 3rd time to medical schools. I'm a decent candidate with the exception of my undergrad record, which is something I'm sure anyone who's perusing this forum is familiar with. I have an undergrad overall of 3.3 and a BCPM of 3.19, majoring in biology at UC Berkeley. I'm in Georgetown's SMP and so far have a 4.0. On top of this I have a 34Q, and have a list of extracurriculars that would read much like any serious applicant to medical school (Relay for Life executive committee, ROTC, fraternity president/philanthropy chair/secretary, ER volunteer at UCSF med center, worked at biotech company for a year as well as a science museum for kids). The only thing I don't have is pure academic research. On top of this I'm a cancer survivor, and thus have a very powerful source of motivation and inspiration to become a physician.

Here's my problem (besides not getting into med school): in my two years of applying I've NEVER been invited to interview. Zip. Zero. Zilch. That's even after applying to 20+ schools each year.

I read a thread about someone "being themself" in their apps, which is precisely the approach I've taken these last two years. I'm sort of a zaney guy who enjoys life, and I've definitely tried to convey that in such a way that I don't sound like a goof off, but someone with a healthy perspective on life. For those of you out there who decided to "play their game" after taking this approach, I'd love to hear whether you had success with that. I'm open to any suggestions on how to get myself into medical school. Thanks everyone, and for those of you who kept trying and finally succeeded, congratulations! You people are my inspiration from this point on. Thanks for the help ahead of time.
 

Dianyla

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How wide of a net are you casting? Are you specifically trying to get into the prestigious research heavy "top ten" med schools? Any safety schools?

I'd be suspicious of your personality if you were getting interviews and no acceptance, but you're not even getting past the paper statistics stuff. Your stats look good, they should get you in at a number of med schools. Therefore, I can only speculate that you might be shooting too high.

Also, have you asked any of those schools for feedback on how to improve your app to be more attractive to them?
 
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sunnyjohn

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You guys in California do fight an uphill battle.

Folks with your GPA and MCAT scores have gotten accepted in other states. It sounds like a "perfect storm scenario" (ie, Cali res, lower GPA) led to a run of bad luck.

With that 4.0 at G'Town you should snap the loosing streak.

PLEASE whatever you do, DON'T put all your eggs in that Kaliforneeeeah basket.
 

3rdtimer

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In response to those who suspect it's that I'm shooting too high I assure you it's not that. I've a healthy spectrum of schools. Like I said, it's baffling to me. I wouldn't be so bothered by all this if I had gotten a few interviews so far. It's just that I've gotten nothing...
 

UMP

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wow... a 3.3 and a 34 would usually get you interview at places like SLU, Drexel or Rosie... schools like UIC and Wayne with big classes always like to fill out some of their spots with your type.

I have to tell you, I am completely shocked that you have not gotten a single interview. Maybe it's one of your LOR's that trashed you behind your back?
You will probably get brand new ones from your SMP anyways.

Good luck, though :luck:
 

3rdtimer

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Yeah I've thought about this too. But I was the type of student who never really went to office hours at a huge school, so I figured they're just really bland since the professors didn't really know me; I assume this also means they wouldn't take it upon themselves to screw over someone they didn't really know. My "science" teachers were all this type, but I stuck with the professors who taught classes I did well in. My non-science and quasi-science professors knew me decently enough and they're people whom I did know better, and I sure never gave them a reason to not like me.

Buuuuut this is one intangible I can't be sure of, so however remote I think the possibility is, I can't count it out. I just hope it's not the case becuz that would suck.
 

FoughtFyr

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Yeah I've thought about this too. But I was the type of student who never really went to office hours at a huge school, so I figured they're just really bland since the professors didn't really know me; I assume this also means they wouldn't take it upon themselves to screw over someone they didn't really know. My "science" teachers were all this type, but I stuck with the professors who taught classes I did well in. My non-science and quasi-science professors knew me decently enough and they're people whom I did know better, and I sure never gave them a reason to not like me.

Buuuuut this is one intangible I can't be sure of, so however remote I think the possibility is, I can't count it out. I just hope it's not the case becuz that would suck.

Ask the admit folks at G-town. They should be able to give you a sense of where the problem is...

- H
 

Hindiana_Jones

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1) You're a stud and an inspiration. 2) Is it possible that you haven't gotten any med school love because you applied before you had those steller G-town grades, and once you complete the program you're going to get tons of med school love? 3) Doesn't Gtown admit anyone who is in the top ten percent of their class, which, if you keep things up, will be you?
Good luck! Also, any advice on success at Gtown?
 

senseiturtle

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3.55 gpa
3.4 Science
33 MCAT
Working as research associate.
Good extracurrics.

Round 1- No interviews
Round 2- 1 interview, waitlisted then rejected
Round 3- 2 interviews, waiting to hear back.

Before reading further, I have the same problem. I'm not bashing you.

I think your problem likely is that you just don't particularly stand out. It's harsh, but consider your competition. There are HUNDREDS of average applicants, and it takes either an attention-grabbing item on your application or just a member of the committee to particularly like your statement.

The cancer thing can be a great tool. Harp on it! Get noticed ! Mention it in the statement.

Get to know the dean personally. Tell him about your story. See what kind of connections you have and see if you can get them to write letters on your behalf. Get current students to stop by and recommend you. Make yourself known! Stand out!


You're trying to sell yourself, and I don't think you're properly using the power of advertising. Better they be sick of hearing of you rather than you being an unknown. This will hopefully get you to the interview phase.

Once there, make a connection. Sell yourself, believe in the product, and just go with it. And if you don't get in, then use the upcoming year to get a chance to ENJOY your life before you dedicate it to this. You're not hopeless, and it's only a matter of time, just be sure you're constantly improving yourself.
 

senseiturtle

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I know it's really easy to get frustrated with the whole process... I'm currently in my 3rd round, and still haven't been accepted yet.

I've been on "no final action" notice for 3 MONTHS from one particular school. Better than rejection, but at the same time, limbo is worse than YAY or NAY.

But, i've come to terms with it all.


Right now... just improve and reapply. Spend time with the people you love, because for the next 4 years, you wont be able to. Visit home often. Be good to your boy/girlfriend. When you're not studying, hit up the pubs with your friends. Seriously. It's about to all be gone in an instant, and you're life will be a hellhole of training and working for the next some-odd 8 years.

Again, I apologize for seeming rude in the previous post, but wake-up calls are tough to deliver. There are just TOO MANY of you and I... "average applicants"... and the only way to get accepted is to step out of the "average" through committment.

Life is what's happening to you right now.... when you're planning and worrying... don't let too much of it go by.
 

Wednesday

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Have Georgetown help you. Is your personal statement too "zaney"? Do you have a bad LOR or just no particularly good ones? Your GPA is a little low, but that should be helped a lot with your SMP. I imagine there is a huge red flag somewhere (that you're just not seeing somehow) because getting no interviews at all is pretty extreme. I am sure G'town will help, it makes them look good if their students get into med school.
 

lincolnparadox

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I'm thinking that you lack of interviews has something to do with your personal statement.

Honestly, what I'd do is call 5 of the 20+ schools that you've applied to and ask them why you weren't granted an interview. For some schools, like Upstate Med in Syracuse, they even hold all-day sessions with admissions staff to review your app and give you ideas on how to improve it. Your numbers are great. It sounds like your ECs are top notch. I have no idea why they wouldn't flag your app for an interview.

Unless your personal statement made them question you, somehow. If you're applying again next year, just re-write it. Pass it off to and English major for proofreading and a physician for content.

Good luck
 

batman1983

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Hello,

My Profile:
MCAT=34R, P=10, V=11, B=13
UC Berkeley
GPA=3.6
BCPM=3.5
Extracir= 1 yr volunteering at Hospital and with Sports Medicine Program, many jobs (had to support myself and family during college), fraternity, government organization, created tutoring company, lots of tutoring experience
Biggest Negative= Lack of research experience due to the fact that I had to work 30-40 hr weeks for jobs

First time poster, I just found out about this site from a friend. Glad to see so many people, like myself, that are interested in medicine and willing to help others out(totally different than the overly competitive environment of UCB)
.
As for myself, I am currently applying to medical school after having graduated in May 2006 from UC Berkeley with dual degrees. I took the MCAT in August 2006, and upon finding out my score in October, decided on applying to med school for this year (sent out the secondaries by December-early Jan). Like yourselves and probably many others from CA, I applied to 30+ schools (including all the UCs, and most of the schools were not top-tier), and received secondaries from all, except UCSF. Unfortunately, after having spent thousands of dollars on apps, I did not receive any interviews, and am getting really disappointed and frustrated by this process. If possible, I would like to get peoples' advice and recommendations onto my profile, maybe possible areas of improvement and suggestions. I have thought about retaking the MCAT again, since I did not do as well on the physical section as I wanted or could have achieved, and probably can improve by 2-3 pts. But, I am wondering if going from a 34 to a 36/37 range will really make much of a difference, especially with the amount of work that must go into studying for the MCATs.

Furthermore, a friend suggested that the main reason I might not have received any interviews was due to the fact that I applied relatively late in the process, even though, I sent out my completed secondaries 1.5-2 months before the deadlines for most of the schools. Is there any truth to this theory, and if so, will applying early in June/July for the next cycle really improve my chances?

Thanks for help and suggestions, as well as reading about my frustrations about this whole process.

-Frustrated Premed Applicant

.
 

Tired Pigeon

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Hmm, that is strange. Two more ideas:

1. Get someone to give you brutally honest feedback on your personal statement.

2. Maybe you've got a bad LOR floating around. Not sure what you would do about this.

With your stats & experiences, a complete lack of interviews screams LOR or PS problem. Give your PS to someone who is a great writer and ask them to be completely merciless in their evaluation. Sometimes people are afraid of hurting your feelings -- you have to really ask them not to pull any punches. As far as the LORs, ask for new ones for the next cycle from people in your academic/professional life who 1) know you very well, 2) really like you on a personal level, 3) tell you to your face that they would be delighted to write you a LOR. Maybe you've already done this, but if not, cover these bases.

Good luck to you.:luck:
 

pillowhead

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Furthermore, a friend suggested that the main reason I might not have received any interviews was due to the fact that I applied relatively late in the process, even though, I sent out my completed secondaries 1.5-2 months before the deadlines for most of the schools. Is there any truth to this theory, and if so, will applying early in June/July for the next cycle really improve my chances?

Yes yes yes yes yes. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to apply very early. It's even more important if you're just average because the schools haven't been worn out by reading a ton of just average applications in early June. Secondaries should be in within two weeks of you receiving them, one week ideally. You shouldn't even be aware of the deadlines. If you are, you're too late already. (I'm saying this as a 4th yr med student who has done some admissions stuff--the same holds true for the residency app process which is somewhat similar).
 

neurodoc

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With your stats & experiences, a complete lack of interviews screams LOR or PS problem. Give your PS to someone who is a great writer and ask them to be completely merciless in their evaluation. Sometimes people are afraid of hurting your feelings -- you have to really ask them not to pull any punches. As far as the LORs, ask for new ones for the next cycle from people in your academic/professional life who 1) know you very well, 2) really like you on a personal level, 3) tell you to your face that they would be delighted to write you a LOR. Maybe you've already done this, but if not, cover these bases.

Good luck to you.:luck:

I couldn't agree more...unless you applied only to extremely selective schools, the PS and/or LORs must be your problem. Beware of putting something in your PS that could raise a red flag with AdComs (such as, "My experience with mental illness made me want to become a psychiatrist, so I could help others who experienced suicidal depression..." etc). Pass your PS by someone for an objective opinion.

As regards LORs...you need to consider the possibility that one of your profs gave you the kiss of death. This is fact happened to me when I first applied (that was a long time ago). My stats were quite good...total GPA of 3.8, BCPM of 3.96, and 37 MCAT. I got a few interviews, got waitlisted, but didn't get in. BTW, like you, I was a UCB grad.

Well, I went to Italy to begin med school, and while I was there the registrar kindly went over my documents with me...Low and behold was my premed committee LOR, which contained contributions from a bunch of my profs...from all of whom I got A's and who (yes I did ask them ) had told me they could write a "good" recommendation. Everything was laudatory, except the entry from one Bastardo (Organic Chem...gave me a solid A because he had to since it was all based on tests and lab projects). Prof Bastardo opined that I was an arrogant bastard myself with all sorts of obnoxious personality traits, etc.) It was an eye-opener. I Completed two years in Italy and decided to come back to the US and apply again. The first thing I did was go to the Per-Med advisor's office and exercise my right to "remove" any professor's contribution to my LOR. Of course they wouldn't let me see the LOR... I told my advisor, "Let's remove Prof. Bastardo's portion of the letter. I know he gave me an A in an important course, but the fact is that he and I had some disagreements." The advisor said OK, and sheepishly added, "Good choice." The rest went smoothly...applied to about a half-dozen schools, got interviews at all, got acceptances from three, and went to my first choice state school. :laugh:
 
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